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Blacks Hit Hardest by Lung Cancer
Date:4/13/2010

Report finds they are more likely to develop, die from disease

TUESDAY, April 13 (HealthDay News) -- Blacks are hit the hardest when it comes to both developing and dying from lung cancer.

A new report from the American Lung Association paints a grim picture of how environmental factors, biological factors, cultural attitudes and biases in the health-care system conspire to make this deadly disease even deadlier among members of this minority group.

"Despite lower smoking rates, African-Americans are more likely to develop and die from lung cancer than whites. African-Americans are more likely to be diagnosed later when the cancer is more advanced. Also, African-Americans are more likely to wait longer after the diagnosis to receive treatment or perhaps to refuse treatment and to die in the hospital after surgery," Dr. William J. Hicks, professor of clinical medicine at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute in Columbus, said during a Monday news conference.

Black men bear an even more disproportionate share of the burden, being 37 percent more likely to be diagnosed with lung cancer and 22 percent more likely to die of the disease than white men.

Only 12 percent of blacks will be alive five years after their lung cancer diagnosis, compared with 16 percent of whites, the ALA report notes.

The report points to a number of factors that could explain the disparity, including differences in socioeconomic status, big business behavior and environmental exposure.

For instance, thanks to concerted marketing efforts by the tobacco industry, blacks have higher rates of smoking menthol cigarettes than other groups. Menthol cigarettes have a higher level of cotinine, which is an indication of how much nicotine a person is absorbing. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to issue a report on the p
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